Thursday evening was the nearing the end of an eventful week for Jesus and the Disciples. Jesus was seated at the table for what he knew was his Last Supper. The disciples, seated with Him, had no knowledge of what was happening but a few moments earlier Jesus witnessed His betrayal by Judas. Jesus did not despair, even with this knowledge He had no fear. He knew the time was drawing near when He would go home to be with Father. Jesus rose from the table and his next actions shocked and surprised the Disciples. A reading from John 13.
3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Imagine the responsibility that comes along with being the “boss.” It is daunting to be the person who makes the decisions. The awesome responsibility that comes along with being the person to whom everyone looks to for answers, for solutions and for direction. Yes, the weight borne by a great leader is monumental. Many of us are willing to allow someone else to bear the brunt of those burdens.
A good leader will demonstrate all of these characteristics. A great leader must do this AND serve his followers. The skills required for being a servant leader are even more than those of a traditional leader. A servant leader must be compassionate and humble. At first glance, one might think that a leader, accustomed to being the Go-to.
Person for all things can’t possibly be humble. The person who everyone looks to for direction can’t possibly have time to think of others. Jesus tells us that a servant leader must be all of these. Again, a reading from John 13.
15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
How do we relate this to what is happening to us today in the Age of the Coronavirus? God calls us to be servant leaders in these times by demonstrating compassion for those who are vulnerable to this virus even when we feel fine ourselves. Wear a face mask or even a bandana over your mouth and nose when you feel fine in order to protect your elderly neighbor. Grab an extra few items at the grocery store for your relatives who should not be outside of their homes. Make arrangements to send food to the family with lots of young kids home from school and Mom has to work from home, homeschool the kids and keep up with the house and laundry!! It takes a lot to think of others’ needs and put them before your own. Thankfully, we have the greatest example to pattern ourselves after. Jesus showed us the way!
John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.